Labour pledge to boost cancer care

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Published: Wednesday 22nd April 2015 by The News Editor

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Labour will promise extra help for cancer patients as it seeks to switch the focus of the General Election campaign away from arguments about the influence of Scottish nationalists over a future Labour government.

Opposition leader Ed Miliband will take to the wards of Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, to highlight a pledge to increase testing by GPs and replacing ageing radiotherapy machines, as the party continues a week-long assault on the Conservatives over the NHS,

He accused the Tories of a “shabby” attempt to quietly sneak out records on the eve of the election revealing the Government would fail this year to meet a key target for treatment to start within two months of urgent referral – meaning longer waits for 23,000 patients, the party said.

“I’ve got news for David Cameron: the game’s up, you broke your promises on the NHS before and no one will believe you again in the future,” he said.

Mr Cameron – who will use a speech to promote a pledge to double the free childcare allocation from 15 to 30 hours per week – came under fire from political opponents yesterday over the Conservative campaign’s focus on the SNP question.

Signs of some unease also among Tory ranks were added to by former cabinet minister Lord Tebbit, who said the “puzzling” focus on the SNP was a “scare tactic” that was not helping the “prime task” of securing a majority.

“Having bungled the Scottish referendum, it seems pointless to just irritate Scots by shouting at them from Westminster – the English are irritated into voting for Ukip, by being shouted at from Westminster – and the Scots are irritated similarly,” he told BBC2’s Newsnight.

The party grandee – a consistent critic of Mr Cameron – said the Prime Minister’s mind was ” a foreign country to me” and compared him unfavourably with “real men” of experience such as Winston Churchill.

A fortnight before the final full day of campaigning, p olls continued to show no clear advantage for either of the main parties.

Delivering a speech in Bedfordshire, Mr Cameron will speak of the “shocking” situation inherited from the last Labour administration where families were crippled by sky-high nursery bills and pledge to provide nine million more hours of free childcare a week for parents of three and four year olds.

All households where both parents work more than eight hours a week will be eligible – benefiting to the tune of £5,000 a year.

But shadow chancellor Ed Balls will seek to use new figures showing the number using foodbanks has reached a record one million to push Labour’s claim that the coalition has overseen a damaging rise in the cost of living for families.

Figures from the Trussell Trust showed 400,000 children were among those receiving at least three days’ of supplies from the charity’s 445 foodbanks across the UK in the past year.

Meanwhile Liberal Democrat leader N ick Clegg will target public sector pay – telling workers there was “a light at the end of the tunnel” after years of real-term wage cuts and that pay would “return to normal” once the economy was fixed.

Liberal Democrats say wages should rise with inflation until the deficit is eliminated, at which point there could be real-terms increases.

But the low rate of inflation means that workers could see a pay rise of just 0.2% in 2016-17, and the Lib Dem promise was met with a sceptical reaction from unions calling for a real hike in salary for their members.

The CPI annual inflation rate is predicted to be 0.2% in 2015, the figure that would be used as the floor for the 2016-17 pay rise, before increasing to 1.2% in 2016 – the rate used for the 2017-18 award.

This would mean a minimum pay increase of £350 for a nurse on £25,000, an increase of £420 for a police officer on £30,000, and a rise of £490 for a teacher on £35,000 over two years.

Published: Wednesday 22nd April 2015 by The News Editor

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